December 10, 2003

All the Local News that's Fit to Link

A couple of small newspapers are have buried their egos and are using the web to bring their readers hometown news from wherever they can find it - even from competitors.

The Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger and the Clark County (Wash.) Columbian each have a blog that aggregates news stories about their areas from other publications.

Today, for example, the Columbian's Columblog links to a Christian Science Monitor story about teen-age suicide that focuses on Clark County, and the Ledger's Polk News Watch points to stories from the Orlando Sentinel and the Palm Peach Post.

News sites linking off-site to other sources is not new - see Mark Glaser's recent piece in the Online Journalism Review about the loosening of linking policies - but, at least to me, the emphasis on local news is.

For small and mid-sized newspapers, local news and information is their most important franchise. Most, though, don't have the reporting power to thoroughly cover their communities, especially suburban areas that have grown faster than their corresponding newsrooms.

Using the web to bring more news to readers is smart. When I see efforts like the Polk News Watch and the Columblog, I see editors thinking of readers before themselves. And that's a very good thing.

(Thanks to for the tip.)

 Lakeland Ledger Polk News Watch
 Clark County Columbian Columblog

Posted by Tim Porter at December 10, 2003 08:20 AM

Hey, Tim, what's your definition of "small"? The columbian site lists eight (!) sports staffers. That may be small compared to the NY Times, but that's a good size staff.

If you want to talk small, talk small - weekly or semi-weekly.

Posted by: b.murley on December 10, 2003 11:28 AM

Fair enough. There are many smaller papers than the Columbian, whose circulation (according to ABC) if 50,000, but its news-from-all-over blog still extends it reach beyond the capacities of its own newsroom -- which is my point.

About the eight sports reporters -- hmmm, I'm thinking stringers. I put in a call to the sports editor just now to check, but no answer.

Posted by: Tim on December 10, 2003 11:40 AM
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